20 Aug Welcome Home, Gabs
So I have been pretty quiet this week on social media and here’s why…
On Sunday morning, I got an SMS from my sister, I could barely understand what she was trying to say so I decided to call her. I immediately heard that she was upset and beyond emotional, so I got up, got dressed and shot over to her best friend’s house to pick her up. We spent the day walking along the beachfront, discussing everything that had been happening and trying our hardest to have a somewhat normal day. I noticed how the mention of taking her back to my grandparent’s house sent her into a fit of tears and was fighting the urge to just make it better.
I am a fixer.
I have this constant need to fix things and people. If you’re sad, I will make it my mission to make you happy. Have a problem? I will try my hardest to solve it. This is a great quality to have, but is just as easily a weakness, too. Often, it means I rush into things without considering the full implications and end up feeling sorry for myself, later. I didn’t want to do the same with Gabi, I didn’t want to rush into something and blurt… “COME LIVE WITH US!” and then regret my invitation not even a week later. But truth is, this is something that Darren and I had been discussing for the last couple of weeks, if not months. And so when Darren did the blurting, I knew it was right.
Gabi has been having a really shitty time, lately. In May, she was told that her dad was being transferred to Cape Town. The idea didn’t settle well with her. She has been held back twice and struggles to make friends because much like me, she has changed schools far too often. (I attended 6 primary school and 4 high schools!) She had finally found a school that worked for her, (my old school, might I add!) she had made friends, joined the hockey team and was happy. Axl is the center of her little world and seeing him on the weekends was filled with cherished moments. In June, she headed to Cape Town to see our dad, but with very little there for her to do, she went to visit our mom in Jo’burg before returning to Cape Town for a test to see whether she would be able to attend the school that we thought would be a great fit. Now between the back and fourth of seeing her parents, not getting into the school, feeling like she wouldn’t see Axl all that often and just the pressure piling up, Gabi lost her joy.
It’s – there is no nice way of saying this – fucking sad!
In a course of 3 weeks, she moved to Cape Town, went to visit Jo’burg, traveled back to Cape Town and then was told that she had to go live with her grandparents in PE, so that she could finish her school year.
When Gabi heard she was moving back to PE, she jumped, danced and sang! But she wasn’t keen on staying with my grandparents. I see it from both sides. You know, grannies and oupies have lived their lives and they’re meant to be fun, creating crafts out of nothing and saying embarrassing things at family braais. But suddenly my grandparents were thrown into the parenting role and everyone was thrown off balance. My grandparents have their own church, they’re heavily involved with charities and have 4 of the other grandkids there on the day-to-day basis. I am 90% sure that Gabi has a learning disability and needs that extra bit of attention, she needs direction, stability and consistency.
Darren and I might have a bad day here and there, but I feel that ultimately, Gabi would be best off with us. If it is one thing that we know that we do well, it is parenting. Before having Gabi move in, we sat her down, spoke about rules, chores, responsibilities and expectations. We agreed that it shouldn’t be one sided and made sure to include her and ask her what she wanted. She just wanted to be allowed to have friends over and to play music.
Music? We always have music playing – always!
So this week has been something new, for all of us!
Darren and I used to finish up work at about 12am-1am and sleep until 8-9am, everyday. On Monday, we had to wake up at 05:45am, make lunch, sign homework and sit in traffic for an hour. Axl was so tired from waking up that early that for the first time in about 8 months, he had a morning nap!
Other than the adjustment to our new morning routine, I feel that we’ve all taken well to the changes. Darren and I both seem to get more done in the mornings and the afternoons are spent doing homework, playing with the kids and just enjoying family time. Gabi is thriving – I know that we’re bound to have bad days, she is a budding teenager after all, but we’re trying to lead by example; Treat everyone with respect, say please and thank you, see that I am struggling? Lend a helping hand. These are simple things that seem to come naturally to most, but with the divorce, moving up and down and just chaos, it is like she skipped out on that chapter.
So, I guess that you can expect some new posts. I have mastered the chore lists, how to study and much, much more in this last week. We have an appointment with the psychologist tomorrow and many hills to master. But for now, I just want to take the time to say, welcome home Gabs! We hope you like it here. Know that we won’t always be your friend and that we won’t always get along but never forget that Darren and I only have your best interests at heart, that we want to see you succeed beyond your greatest expectations and that this is a safe place, this is home.